(Photo by WB /Courtesy Everett Collection)

Best Shark Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

You’re gonna need a bigger screen. But that’s only if you want to take in the full awesome glory of earth’s bitiest avenger: the shark! It’s the only apex predator we humans have cleared time from our busy schedule to pay humble tribute to (we’ve certainly never heard of Sperm Whale Week), Rotten Tomatoes likewise took the time to put together our list of the best shark movies (and the worst) ever — all ranked by Tomatometer.

Our love/hate cinematic relationship with sharks began with directing legend Samuel Fuller and his aptly titled Shark! in 1969, a movie which effectively killed his career for a decade, until 1980’s The Big Red One. Here was a lesson most people would take wisdom from (sharks, even the ones you make up, are not to be trifled with), but it takes a certain cavalier breed to make it as a director, forging ahead where others spectacularly failed.

Enter Steven Spielberg. His 1975 masterpiece Jaws, infamous in almost destroying the young auteur mentally and professionally, would become the first-ever blockbuster. It buoyed the summer season out of the doldrums and turned it into a big-budget movie destination, while instilling a real fear of deep water for a whole generation. Recently, we’ve added forty new reviews and updated its Tomatometer score!

It’s been open season for shark movies in Hollywood ever since, and in the ensuing decades we’ve gotten camp classics (Sharknado!), modern hits (The Shallows!), the lovable (Deep Blue Sea!), and the very much not-so (Ghost Shark!). Now that we’re all chums caught up on some fishy history, continue on to see every shark movie ever that chomped up a Tomatometer! Alex Vo

#1

Jaws (1975)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 114260%
Critics Consensus: Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg's Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.
Synopsis: When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island,... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 97433%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating tribute to a pioneer as well as an engrossing act of environmental advocacy, Playing with Sharks makes up in enjoyment what it lacks in depth.
Synopsis: Photographer Valerie Taylor becomes a trailblazing advocate for the ocean's most maligned and misunderstood creatures.... [More]
Directed By: Sally Aitken

#3

Kon-Tiki (2012)
83%

#3
Adjusted Score: 86176%
Critics Consensus: A well-crafted retelling of an epic true story, Kon Tiki is a throwback to old-school adventure filmmaking that's exciting and entertaining in spite of its by-the-book plotting.
Synopsis: Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Hagen) suspects that the South Sea Islands were originally colonized by South Americans. In... [More]

#4

The Shallows (2016)
79%

#4
Adjusted Score: 89216%
Critics Consensus: Lean and solidly crafted, The Shallows transcends tired shark-attack tropes with nasty thrills and a powerful performance from Blake Lively.
Synopsis: Still reeling from the loss of her mother, medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) travels to a secluded beach for... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#5

Sharkwater (2006)
79%

#5
Adjusted Score: 79786%
Critics Consensus: In addition to its breathtaking underwater photography, Sharkwater has a convincing, impassioned argument of how the plight of sharks affects everyone.
Synopsis: Arguing that sharks are misunderstood as dangerous creatures, biologist Rob Stewart travels to the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica and other... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Rob Stewart

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 100758%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful yet gut-wrenching, Sharkwater Extinction offers an eye-opening condemnation of an illegal trade -- and a poignant farewell to a talented filmmaker.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Rob Stewart travels across oceans to expose the illegal and violent underworld of shark finning.... [More]
Starring: Rob Stewart
Directed By: Rob Stewart

#7

After the Bite (2023)
100%

#7
Adjusted Score: 54466%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Residents and thousands of vacationers grapple with rising numbers of great white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ivy Meeropol

#8

The Reef (2010)
79%

#8
Adjusted Score: 67355%
Critics Consensus: A gripping example of less-is-more horror, The Reef is the rare shark attack movie that isn't content to merely tread water.
Synopsis: A sailing trip becomes a disaster for a group of friends when the boat sinks and a white shark hunts... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Traucki

#9

Sharknado (2013)
77%

#9
Adjusted Score: 77106%
Critics Consensus: Proudly, shamelessly, and gloriously brainless, Sharknado redefines "so bad it's good" for a new generation.
Synopsis: A monstrous storm devastates Los Angeles, leaving the streets flooded and infested with sharks.... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#10

Sharks (2004)
75%

#10
Adjusted Score: 45479%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau documents face-to-face encounters with a wide variety of the ocean's ultimate predators, including white, hammerhead and whale... [More]
Starring: Geoffrey Bateman
Directed By: Jean-Jaques Mantello

#11

Open Water (2003)
71%

#11
Adjusted Score: 77807%
Critics Consensus: A low budget thriller with some intense moments.
Synopsis: Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) embark on a tropical vacation with their scuba-diving certifications in tow. During a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Kentis

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 68287%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In an effort to heal after witnessing her sister's horrific murder, Nic travels to a tropical resort with her friends... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Traucki

#13

Jaws 2 (1978)
62%

#13
Adjusted Score: 65074%
Critics Consensus: Jaws 2 never approaches the lingering thrills of its classic predecessor, but it's reasonably entertaining for a sequel that has no reason to exist.
Synopsis: Years after the shark attacks that left Amity Island reeling, Sheriff Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) finds new trouble lurking in... [More]
Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc

#14

Under Paris (2024)
63%

#14
Adjusted Score: 65157%
Critics Consensus: Marrying environmental themes with bloody thrills, this Gallic entry into the shark attack canon ultimately lands on the right side of ridiculous fun.
Synopsis: To save Paris from a bloodbath, a grieving scientist is forced to face her tragic past when a giant shark... [More]
Directed By: Xavier Gens

#15
Adjusted Score: 61593%
Critics Consensus: The schlock factor for Sharknado 2: The Second One is not as entertaining as its predecessor's, though fans of the brand will likely enjoy it.
Synopsis: A freak weather system brings in ravenous sharks to munch on hapless New Yorkers and iconic landmarks.... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#16

Deep Blue Sea (1999)
60%

#16
Adjusted Score: 65590%
Critics Consensus: Deep Blue Sea is no Jaws, but action fans seeking some toothy action can certainly do -- and almost certainly have done -- far worse for B-movie thrills.
Synopsis: On an island research facility, Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) is harvesting the brain tissue of DNA-altered sharks as a... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#17

47 Meters Down (2017)
53%

#17
Adjusted Score: 61254%
Critics Consensus: 47 Meters Down doesn't take its terrifying premise quite as far as it should, but its toothy antagonists still offer a few thrills for less demanding genre enthusiasts.
Synopsis: Young sisters Kate and Lisa and travel to Mexico for a vacation filled with sun, fun and adventure. Lisa needs... [More]
Directed By: Johannes Roberts

#18

Sharktopus (2010)
50%

#18
Adjusted Score: 13457%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Genetically engineered, a monster that is half-shark and half-octopus goes on a killing spree.... [More]
Directed By: Declan O'Brien

#19

The Meg (2018)
47%

#19
Adjusted Score: 64337%
Critics Consensus: The Meg sets audiences up for a good old-fashioned B-movie creature feature, but lacks the genre thrills -- or the cheesy bite -- to make it worth diving in.
Synopsis: Previously thought to be extinct, a massive creature attacks a deep-sea submersible, leaving it disabled and trapping the crew at... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 22676%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Six long-time friends (Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr., Niklaus Lange) try to stay afloat in the ocean after they... [More]
Directed By: Hans Horn

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 44323%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Five friends reunite for a wedding in the Caribbean. The day before the ceremony they go out on a boat... [More]
Directed By: Hayley Easton Street

#22

Bait (2012)
44%

#22
Adjusted Score: 44856%
Critics Consensus: Bait isn't entirely lacking in the shark action department, but a silly story and thinly sketched characters may leave audiences bored between bloody attacks.
Synopsis: A freak tsunami traps a group of people in a submerged grocery store. As they try to escape, they are... [More]
Directed By: Kimble Rendall

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 47899%
Critics Consensus: 47 Meters Down: Uncaged may not be as ruthlessly efficient as its finned villains, but fans of shark peril thrillers should find it just chummy enough.
Synopsis: Four teenage divers discover that the sunken ruins of a Mayan city are also a hunting ground for deadly great... [More]
Directed By: Johannes Roberts

#24

Great White (2021)
43%

#24
Adjusted Score: 44379%
Critics Consensus: It's far from the most toothless shark thriller, but Great White lacks the killer storytelling instinct necessary to stay afloat.
Synopsis: In GREAT WHITE, a blissful tourist trip turns into a nightmare when five seaplane passengers are stranded miles from shore.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Wilson

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 11716%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Sailors go to sea to hunt for a prehistoric shark, previously thought to be extinct.... [More]
Directed By: David Worth

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 36725%
Critics Consensus: Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! bites off more than it can chew, leaving viewers with an overlong mess that isn't even bad enough to be good.
Synopsis: When Sharknadoes threaten the East Coast, chainsawwielding hero Fin must risk his life to save his children on spring break.... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#27

Shark Tale (2004)
35%

#27
Adjusted Score: 40930%
Critics Consensus: Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes.
Synopsis: Underachiever Oscar (Will Smith) is a pint-sized fish with grand aspirations. When mob-connected great white shark Frankie (Michael Imperioli) is... [More]

#28

No Way Up (2024)
33%

#28
Adjusted Score: 33764%
Critics Consensus: Taking a promising premise and driving it straight into the sea, No Way Up doesn't have enough fun with its nerve-shredding concept.
Synopsis: Ava (Sophie McIntosh), the daughter of the Governor of California, is hoping for a peaceful getaway with friends in the... [More]
Directed By: Claudio Fäh

#29

Shark Bait (2022)
30%

#29
Adjusted Score: 17566%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A group of spring breakers are enjoying the trip of a lifetime on the sandy beaches of Mexico. As the... [More]
Directed By: James Nunn

#30
Adjusted Score: 17568%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fin and his wife April travel around the world to save their young son who's trapped inside a sharknado.... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#31

Ghost Shark (2013)
29%

#31
Adjusted Score: 10205%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After rednecks torture and kill a great white shark, its spirit returns from the dead to seek revenge on the... [More]
Directed By: Griff Furst

#32

The Black Demon (2023)
28%

#32
Adjusted Score: 29359%
Critics Consensus: A small shark in a big pond of man-eating legends, The Black Demon bites off more than it can chew, leaving little carnage for the audience to feast on.
Synopsis: Josh Lucas (Ford v Ferrari, Yellowstone) stars in this edge-of-your-seat action thriller from the director of Rambo: Last Blood. Oilman... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Grunberg

#33
Adjusted Score: 17400%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fin has to go back in time to rejoin his shark battling friends to stop the first Sharknado and save... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 37121%
Critics Consensus: It isn't without its fun moments, but Meg 2: The Trench suffers from a disjointed story that drifts for too long before finally delivering a few campy thrills.
Synopsis: Get ready for the ultimate adrenaline rush this summer in "Meg 2: The Trench," a literally larger-than-life thrill ride that... [More]
Directed By: Ben Wheatley

#35

Shark Night (2011)
19%

#35
Adjusted Score: 21308%
Critics Consensus: A joyless excursion into the water that doesn't even produce good gore or nudity thanks to the neutered PG-13 rating.
Synopsis: Newly arrived at her family's lake-island cabin, college student Sara (Sara Paxton) and her friends prepare for a weekend of... [More]
Directed By: David R. Ellis

#36
Adjusted Score: 17778%
Critics Consensus: With shoddy FX, acting and directing. This isn't so bad it's good. It's just so bad it's terrible.
Synopsis: Strange things are afoot in the depths of the sea. First a passenger plane vanishes over the Pacific Ocean. Then... [More]
Directed By: Jack Perez

#37

The Requin (2022)
19%

#37
Adjusted Score: 17802%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: There's terror in paradise when Jaelyn (Alicia Silverstone) and Kyle (James Tupper) arrive at a remote seaside villa in Vietnam... [More]
Directed By: Le-Van Kiet

#38

Maneater (2022)
17%

#38
Adjusted Score: 17346%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Jesse and her friends' idyllic island vacation turns into a gruesome nightmare when they become the target for an unrelenting... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lee

#39
Adjusted Score: 10449%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After their ship is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, the crew members of the USS Indianapolis face a harrowing nightmare... [More]
Directed By: Mario Van Peebles

#40
Adjusted Score: 10040%
Critics Consensus: Sharknado: The 4th Awakens loses the ridiculous charm of its predecessors, leaving only clumsy social commentary and monotonous schtick that's lost its bite.
Synopsis: Five years after the wave of sharknados that wracked the east coast, the heroes are living a quiet life in... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#41

Jaws III (1983)
11%

#41
Adjusted Score: 14179%
Critics Consensus: A cheese-soaked ocean thriller with no evident reason to exist, Jaws 3 bellows forth with a plaintive yet ultimately unheeded cry to put this franchise out of viewers' misery.
Synopsis: After a young great white shark finds its way into a sea-themed park managed by Calvin Bouchard (Louis Gossett Jr.),... [More]
Directed By: Joe Alves

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 5380%
Critics Consensus: Illogical, tension-free, and filled with cut-rate special effects, Jaws: The Revenge is a sorry chapter in a once-proud franchise.
Synopsis: The family of widow Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) has long been plagued by shark attacks, and this unfortunate association continues... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Sargent

#43

Shark Attack (1999)
0%

#43
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When marine biologist Steven McKray (Casper Van Dien) learns that a friend died in a mysterious shark attack in South... [More]
Directed By: Bob Misiorowski

#44

Dark Tide (2012)
0%

#44
Adjusted Score: 31%
Critics Consensus: Shallow and brackish, Dark Tide fails to rise.
Synopsis: A traumatized shark expert (Halle Berry) must battle her own fears to lead a thrill-seeking businessman on a dive into... [More]
Directed By: John Stockwell